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Fact-Free Liberals: Part II

By 1.22.14

Words seem to carry far more weight than facts among those liberals who argue as if rent control laws actually control rents and gun control laws actually control guns. It does no good to point out to them that the two American cities where rent control laws have existed longest and strongest -- New York and San Francisco -- are also the two cities with the highest average rents.

Nor does it make a dent on them when you point out evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic, that tightening gun control laws does not reduce gun crimes, including murder. It is not uncommon for gun crimes to rise when gun control laws are tightened. Apparently armed criminals prefer unarmed victims.

Minimum wage laws are another issue where the words seem to carry great weight, leading to the fact-free assumption that such laws will cause wages to rise to the legally specified minimum. Various studies going back for decades indicate that minimum wage laws create unemployment, especially among the younger, less experienced and less skilled workers.

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Fact-Free Liberals

By 1.21.14

Someone summarized Barack Obama in three words -- "educated," "smart" and "ignorant." Unfortunately, those same three words would describe all too many of the people who come out of our most prestigious colleges and universities today.

President Obama seems completely unaware of how many of the policies he is trying to impose have been tried before, in many times and places around the world, and have failed time and again. Economic equality? That was tried in the 19th century, in communities set up by Robert Owen, the man who coined the term "socialism." Those communities all collapsed.

It was tried even earlier, in 18th century Georgia, when that was a British colony. People in Georgia ended up fleeing to other colonies, as many other people would vote with their feet in the 20th century, by fleeing many other societies around the world that were established in the name of economic equality.

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The Real Meaning of Al Qaeda

By 1.20.14

It is impossible to refer to a more terrifyingly accurate comment on terrorism than that which reportedly was made by a captured Thugee murderer in India in the days of the British Raj: “Let any man taste of that sugar of the sacrifice, and he will be a Thug, though he knows all the trades and has all the wealth in the world.” Osama bin Laden meant for all accepted members of al Qaeda to carry the same spirit as the Thugee of the past, for killing and dying is their modus vivendi. In this sense any group having terror as their principal tool can be considered linked to the Kali-worshiping killers of the Thugee or al Qaeda.

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Child-Man in the Promised Land

By 1.19.14

Jerusalem
Israel is a place I lived for ten out of the thirteen years between October 1981 and August 1994, between age 23 and 36. I accomplished so much here during those years and enjoyed a wide range of priceless experiences. I studied a lot and I mentored others; so many people reached out to give me a hand in acclimating to the vagaries of life in a foreign land. Eventually I mastered the language and learned to navigate the business practices and the government bureaucracies and the social mores and the cultural norms. Just when I really felt that I fit in… I left.

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Pajama Boy, Julia, and the Government That Loves Them

By 1.17.14

Slightly under a quarter of the 2.2 million Obamacare enrollees are between 18 and 34. More than half are between 45 and 64. One needn’t be a doctor, or a mathematician, to grasp the negative implications for rates within the insurance exchanges.

“If you want young people to sign up maybe you shouldn’t have made the law so that you can stay on your parents’ plan until you turn 26,” joked Jimmy Kimmel. The late-night host played a skit featuring a near-retirement couple listing their various medications. “But fortunately,” Martha explains, “we don’t have to pay for it.” “You do,” Alex tells the viewers. His wife matter-of-factly reports, “You young people are paying for our drugs and our doctors.”

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Turkey Simmering

By 1.9.14

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey made the statement that there was a serious question as to just how independent his nation’s judiciary should be. This clearly rhetorical question reflects the powerful prime minister’s pique at the extent of activity by a federal prosecutor who has been heading an anti-corruption investigation. Ironically the entire episode sounded exactly the same as what Erdogan and his party used to complain about military domination of secular institutions.

Politics aside, the action that pushed Erdogan beyond his professional restraint level was a summons served on his son, Bilal. This action was merely one of many directed at political associates of the Erdogan government, including cabinet ministers’ relatives, who had become subjects of the prosecution probe. Something had to be done and Erdogan came down hard. The prosecutor involved was removed from the case, but not until he had charged that none of the follow-up arrests to his interrogations had been completed and now the suspects were all covering their financial tracks.

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Keeping the Lid on Africa

By 12.19.13

Western countries’ military role in Africa has become essential in peacekeeping. This past month the French sent 1,000 rapid deployment troops to the Central African Republic, and then followed up with another 600. The French government is trying to avoid committing large numbers of soldiers to countering local sectarian conflicts. Make no mistake, this is clearly more of a political than military decision, though last year they had to rush aid to Northern Mali to retake Timbuktu from a large well-organized jihadist terrorist group.

Paris knows full well that political life in many of its former African colonies is a matter of just waiting for the next coup, rebellion, or terrorist attack. Long ago they were aware that in spite of extensive and continuing programs aimed at instilling a French sense of democracy, the indigenous cultures of physical intimidation and political chicanery would predominate. The best the President’s Office at the Elysée could expect would be an intelligent and strong leader who looked to his earlier mentor and sovereign on key issues. Of course that is the dream of all former colonial nations.

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Lost In Translation

By 12.13.13

Italians talk with their hands. South Africans? Not so much.

“We consider this to be an absolute disgrace and an insult to deaf people,” commented Brit Jan Sheldon of the Royal Association of Deaf People on the stadium-sized tribute to Nelson Mandela. “It represents one of the most public mockeries of deaf people and sign language that we’ve ever seen.”

Translator for the deaf Thamsanqa Jantjie, standing next to the president of the United States at Mandela’s memorial service, treated the international audience to a series chopping gestures and finger flicks. What did it all mean?  

The to-the-letter translation of Jantjie’s punching of the air, for instance, means “ansehjebfibc2u9ygcweodbjcb” in sign language. But must we take everything so literally? One could also interpret the words spoken by Jantjie’s fists as “joeofuhofcnwjhcb” or “uejcnnowdycbg.”

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